Game 2 Box Score
FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Linfield senior Staci Doucette smacked her NCAA-record breaking 60th home run, one of five long bombs the Wildcats unleashed on the Pacific Boxers during a pair of run-rule shortened games Saturday at Sherman-Larkins Stadium.
Jordan Mixsell went 4-for-5 at the plate, drove in five runs and stole a couple of bases, Ashley Garcia clubbed two home runs for the defending Northwest Conference and NCAA champion Wildcats, who drubbed the Boxers 10-2 and 12-1 to complete a four-game season sweep.
With her 60th career homer and seventh of the current season, Doucette surpassed the standing NCAA Division III home runs record of 59, set by Mandy Carnes of Muskingum (2000-03).
Fourth-ranked Linfield bounced back from a pair of surprising losses last week at the hands of Pacific Lutheran. The ‘Cats improved to 14-2 for the season and 12-2 in conference action. Pacific dropped to 8-14 overall and 6-8 in the NWC.
The Wildcats got under the skin of Boxers starter Jenny Yano from the start, getting a leadoff single from Grace Middelstadt (Sr., Battle Ground, Wash.) and a RBI double by Jaydee Baxter to take a fast 1-0 lead with the game only minutes old. Karleigh Prestianni made it 2-0 with a RBI single up the middle before Garcia provided a sacrifice fly that scored Prestianni.
After the Boxers notched a run in the bottom of the first, Prestianni drew a bases-loaded walk in the second to put the visitors in front 4-1.
Clinging to a 4-2 advantage heading to the fifth, the Wildcats erupted for six runs to win going away. Garcia planted her sixth home run of the season to lead off the frame and Mixsell followed that up with her third homer. Not to be overshadowed, Emilee Lepp drilled her fifth homer to left field, a three-run blast that put the game out of reach.
Baxter went 2-for-3 in the game and scored two runs.
Earning the win in a starting role, Lauren Harvey raised her record to 7-1. Harvey allowed three hits in three innings before turning the game over to Montana McNealy (Sr., Aloha, Ore.). Yano took the loss to fall to 0-3.
Two big innings by Linfield turned a close 3-1 game into a rout.
The Wildcats plated four runs in the fourth, including run-scoring singles from Prestianni and Mixsell.
Doucette’s record-breaking homer came in the Linfield fifth, part of a five-run outbreak. Once Doucette had cleared the bases, Prestianni drew a walk, setting the stage for Garcia’s second homer of the afternoon off Yano, who entered the game in relief of Boxers starter Shannon Miller.
Six different Wildcats had multiple hits, including three by Mixsell and two each from Baxter, Lepp, Doucette, Prestianni and Garcia. Once the dust settled, Linfield had 14 hits and a dozen runs.
Wildcats starter Karina Paavola moved to 7-1 for the season. The sophomore pitched four innings, striking out five Boxers while surrendering three hits and one walk. Shelby VandeBerg mopped up in the fifth, giving up two hits and a walk.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Though Doucette holds the current home runs record of 60, fellow All-American Lepp remains in hot pursuit. Lepp, who hit a NCAA single-season record 29 HRs last season, launched her 56th career homer Saturday against the Boxers. . . on the base paths, Mixsell and Garcia each went 2-for-2. . . in Saturday’s twinbill, Linfield outhit Pacific 22-8, had six extra-base hits, drew 15 walks and stole six bases. . . Linfield has already piled up 34 home runs in 16 games this spring, three ahead of last season’s NCAA record-setting pace.
NEXT: Linfield hosts winless Lewis & Clark Sunday at Del Smith Stadium. Action is set to start at noon with live internet coverage starting about 11:50 a.m. . . Weather delays or postponements are possible Sunday. Any changes will be updated promptly on the Linfield Athletics website.